Asustek plans Eee Book e-reader and tablet PC to rival iPad

The devices will be out in the second half of this year

Netbook pioneer Asustek Computer plans to launch its own e-reader and a tablet PC to rival Apple's iPad in the second half of this year.

The company will focus on bringing content providers on board when it releases its tablet PC, said Jerry Shen, CEO of Asustek, during the company's fourth quarter investors conference.

The company will also launch its first e-reader device, the Eee Book, at Computex Taipei 2010 electronics trade show, which runs June 1 to 5.

Details about both devices were not immediately available.

Shen hinted at creating a smartbook this year, a mini-laptop similar to a netbook but made using a microprocessor and other components normally found in smartphones. The devices offer far longer battery life than netbooks, which are made using laptop PC components. During the conference, he said Asustek saw a better opportunity for smartbooks this year.

Last year at Computex, chip maker Qualcomm displayed an Asustek Eee PC smartbook running Google's Android operating system, to great fanfare. The official reason given for the why the device was put on hold was because Asustek did not want to focus its engineering resources on an untested device. Only a handful of smartbooks were launched last year and they did not make a dent in the global mini-laptop market.

The Google Chrome OS, which is designed for mini-laptops, tablet PCs and other devices, is slated to debut in the second half of this year. A number of Taiwanese companies have expressed interest in the new OS.

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Dan Nystedt

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